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What Goes Up Must Come Down: Escalator and Elevator Etiquette

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Anyone who visits department stores, shopping malls or lives in a metropolitan city, encounters the ups and downs of elevators and escalators in office buildings, subways, and the like. Refresh yourself with these rules of common courtesy the next time you go for a ride.

Escalators

• Stay to the right to stand, and walk to the left to pass. This rule applies to all escalators, whether in department stores, shopping malls, or subways.
• Don't stand directly behind the next person; skip at least one step so that when you exit there will be room for the both of you.
• Always hold on to the rail in case of sudden stops.
• If you have shopping bags, they go directly in front of you to allow others to pass to the left.
• Carts and strollers are not allowed on escalators. Take the elevator instead.
• Never stop at either end of an escalator. You will be a moving target and cause accidents.

Elevators

• Wait for passengers to exit before you enter.
• Step aside or step out to let people in the rear exit.
• If you are going to a lower floor, stand toward the front.
• If you are going to the top floor, move all the way to the back.
• In either case, if someone needs to exit, be prepared to step aside or step out when needed.
• Hold the door open for others and offer to push their floor button.
• Men may leave their hat on in elevators.
• Avoid cell phone conversations and eating or drinking.
• In a crowded elevator, which we have all experienced, use patience. The ride is short.

Lisa Mirza Grotts is a recognized etiquette expert, on-air contributor, and the author of A Traveler's Passport to Etiquette. She is a former director of protocol for the city and county of San Francisco and the founder and CEO of The AML Group (www.AMLGroup.com), certified etiquette and protocol consultants. Her clients range from Stanford Hospital to Cornell University and Levi Strauss. She has been quoted by Condé Nast Traveler, InStyle magazine, and the Los Angeles Times. To learn more about Lisa, follow her on www.Twitter.com/LisaGrotts and www.Facebook.com/LisaGrotts.